Exclusive: Dangers of Multi-Vitamins - 5 Isolated Supplements to Avoid

Sunday 10 November 2019

Nowadays, many of us take multi-vitamins and supplements. It means we are concerned about our health and we are willing to spend money to take care of it. Unfortunately, as we don't know much about vitamins/minerals, we think "Eat Something is Better Than Nothing". This is a dangerous attitude because we don't know what our body lacks. So we may overdose. Or we may take the wrong products which cause us more harm. So in fact, "Eat Nothing is Better Than Eating the Wrong Thing". It is safer.

In the market, there are 5 types of supplements that are very commonly purchased by people - folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A and iron.

This post shares some key points that we must know to help us select the right supplements to take.

1. Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Natural sources of folate (vitamin B12) include dark green leafy veggies such as spinach and broccoli, chickpeas, beans, avocado, eggs and beef liver. The synthetic form of folate is folic acid (which come in the form of vitamin supplements).

It is commonly taken by pregnant ladies, people who are anaemic and people who lack iron (as it is important for blood production). Folic acid is a very common supplement, either in isolated form or combined with other multi-vitamins.


(i) MTHFR gene mutation

Before folic acid can be utilised by the body, it must be converted into methyl-folate by a gene called MTHFR. If one has MTHFR gene mutation, he will have difficulty converting folic acid into usable form and may cause his symptoms to worsen. Symptoms of MTHFR mutation include cardio thrombosis, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, colon cancer, acute leukaemia, migraine etc. However, MTHFR mutation would only be known from blood tests. Thus, it is dangerous for one to take folic acid supplements as it may lead to a build-up of folic acid in the body.

People with MTHFR mutation can have elevated levels of homocysteine (a type of amino acid), because they don't get enough folate. High homocysteine level is a risk factor for blood clots and heart disease.

(ii) Overdose of folic acid

It may cause abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, rashes, sleep disorder, irritability, confusion, nausea, skin reaction etc. People usually don't link these risks to folic acid, because it appears to be so safe. But actually, if taken at large doses over a long-term basis, these symptoms may start to develop.

If you take 800-1,200 mcg/day, it may increase the risk of heart attack and lung/prostate cancer.


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